According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the rate of fatal truck accidents increased by 14 percent from 2019 to 2020, largely due to aggressive driving behaviors. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety defines aggressive driving as any unsafe driving behavior that is performed either intentionally or with disregard for the safety of others.
Truck drivers spend long days on the road delivering their cargo. They are often on a deadline to reach their destination, and getting stuck in traffic can prevent them from achieving their goal on time and then being penalized as a result. Late arrival also means a delay in picking up the next load, so the financial consequences start to multiply. This is the number one reason why some truck drivers act aggressively.
Fatigue impacts a driver’s judgement and can lead to poor decision-making as well. The stress of deadlines can push truck drivers to try to make up time after being delayed by traffic congestion. Some drivers are paid by the mile, which can also contribute to aggressive driving as they try to cover the most miles possible.
While many truck drivers follow the rules of the road, some may defy HOS regulations that specify when drivers are required to take rest.
What Are Common Causes of Aggressive Driving Truck Accidents?
Any experienced driver has likely seen one of more of the following types of behaviors exhibited by an aggressive driver, usually in heavy traffic situations:
- Changing lanes without signaling.
- Cutting off other drivers or blocking lanes so that others cannot pass or change lanes.
- Deliberately slowing down in front of someone to “punish” them.
- Excessive honking or flashing of lights.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way.
- Running through red lights or stop signs.
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
Any of these actions is dangerous and puts the driver, their passengers, and those around them on the road at risk. Often, aggressive drivers commit two or more of these moving violations together, such as speeding and changing lanes without signaling.
Aggressive Driving and Truck Accidents
Aggressive driving is always dangerous, but when a truck is involved, the consequences can be disastrous and fatal. A truck’s size and weight means it requires more time and space than a passenger vehicle to maneuver and brake. A truck that is speeding or tailgating has no room for error and could easily cause a truck accident. When a trucker cuts off another driver, they could lose control and crash into cars around them. Trucks that weave in and out of traffic aggressively are unpredictable and could easily sideswipe another vehicle and cause a roll-over accident.
Injuries From Truck Accidents
Most passenger vehicles are no match for the size and weight of a truck when it comes to an accident. That is why injuries from a truck accident tend to be so severe in those who survive. Survivors are often left with serious and life-altering injuries, such as:
- Back injuries.
- Crushing injuries.
- Internal organ damage.
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial or full paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
Such significant injuries can require multiple surgeries, extensive hospital stays, rehabilitative physical therapy, and a lifetime of expensive future medical care. Often, it is not possible for the injured to return to work because of physical limitations induced by their accident injuries.
What Should I Do if I Spot a Trucker Driving Aggressively?
If you are on the road and notice a truck driver acting aggressively, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. Many trucks have contact information listed on the side or back that you can use to report the driver to their trucking company. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure their drivers are safe, so they want to know if one of their truckers is driving aggressively. You can also report the aggressive driver to the police or state troopers. Once you have done this, be sure to give the truck plenty of space and stay out of its blind spots. Remember that if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the side mirror, they also cannot see you.
Do not engage with an aggressive driver, as this could agitate them more and escalate the problem. Let them pass you and stay out of their way.
Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
Liability for a truck accident can involve multiple parties. Aggressive driving is considered an unreasonably dangerous behavior, so a truck driver that causes an accident because of their aggressive behavior can be held liable. However, the trucking company may also be held accountable if it can be shown that they failed to do a thorough background check on the driver. For instance, if the truck driver who caused the accident had already been fired from a previous trucking company for a history of aggressive driving, and their current company hired them anyway, they could be held liable. This is also true if they failed to properly train the driver.
Because issues of liability in truck accidents are complex and likely involve multiple parties, accident survivors seeking compensation for their injuries should always consult with an experienced attorney instead of trying to do it alone. Trucking companies employ teams of lawyers to mitigate or avoid paying damages, so it is critical to have legal representation in this situation.
Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Advocate for Those Who Have Been injured by Aggressive Truck Drivers
If you have been injured in an accident caused by an aggressive truck driver, you need our experienced Cincinnati truck accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office on your side. Let us handle your legal matters so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Call us at 513-488-1135 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.